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Wok burner advice needed


infernooo
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Thanks Chris! I guess you use a wok with a long handle? The ones they sell have just two handles on the sides, tossing with that setup is probably less possible?

I think I'll get the 18 inch setup, it's the same burner and size is plenty. If it fits my regular wok, that'll be an extra bonus.

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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well, I ordered the portable with an 18 inch wok from amazon, plus the two nice wok cooking books. Looking forward to changing up what I cook! And it's getting nice outside, what better thing to do than cook with fire!

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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  • 2 weeks later...

I finally set mine up for the first time today, had time to scrub the wok from it's production coat and used the method with Chinese chives to season it on the burner. I got the portable kahuna, if you look at pictures, it's the one with little "horns" sticking up to hold a pot in place, as well as the wok. Supposedly max is 18 inch wok, which I got, the box says up to 22 inches, but I think it's wrong. Anyway, 18 inches is plenty big, and I can still clean it in the sink no problem. I got a really nice dark brown seasoning on most of it with the chives method (basically heat, add oil, add a bunch of those chives and stir fry, discard). I have a bunch more, so before I cook I'll repeat the seasoning, hope to get to it this week.

The burner puts out a ton of heat, seems very stable, is super easy to assemble and packs down really small, so you can take it camping or tailgating or just store it small and out of (the wife's) sight in the garage, really neat. I really don't understand why somebody would need more heat than what this thing can put out, it's rated at 65k BTU, commercial ranges for woks seem to be 200k. I don't know much about these BTU ratings, but it seems to me that at 200k I'd be forging steel instead of heating it, I'd be afraid to melt the wok! :laugh:

I plan to do a simple chicken stir fry first, and just judging from the smells that came off the wok during seasoning, this is going to taste very authentic, I'm quite excited!

To reiterate, the Big Kahuna is only sold as a set with the 22 inch wok, the Portable Kahuna is sold separate or with a wok of 18 inches. Both have exactly the same burner built in, it's more of a support structure difference it seems. It says on the box and in the manual (and on the unit I think) that you can NOT fry a turkey with this setup. I'm not sure why though. Turkey fryers have lower BTU, but I don't see where one flame would work and the other won't. I have little interest in frying a turkey, so it doesn't matter to me, but it's noteworthy in case that's something you want to do. Personally I'd probably go for it, but.....

Oh, it also says to not use it on black top pavement, as it might melt. I have enough concrete around the house (though I did the short seasoning in front of the garage today) and I can't quite imagine it gets that hot under the unit, but who knows. I think they are just covering their .$$

A great unit, their wok seems very good quality as well. I'll make it to the wok shop in China Town one of these years, would love to own a hand hammered one from China, but until then this one and my smaller store bought one will do just fine.

I'll post some more once I cook a thing or two, I got both of Grace Young's books to play with. Full of great recipes, though the same heating instruction in every single recipe is getting a bit tiresome after a while.....

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Sounds like a great start. I started with one of her books as well, and with that same chive method. I just ordered my portable kahuna too (thanks for the reminder, would have come to a nice spring day and been mad i forgot!).

Will post pictures also when it finally gets nice out in chicago.

Would be interested to know your clean up routine or methods also. i have a bamboo brush and usually just rinse with water and scrub, sometimes over heat, immediately after stir frying. since i dont deep fry often, i periodically re-season or coat a few times with oil.

Ryan

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I used to have a bamboo brush but don't have one anymore. Usually I just wash the wok (well, my old stove top one, as I haven't used the new one aside from seasoning it) with hot water and a kitchen brush, that usually works fine. With the kahuna there's no way that I'll be washing right away, it gets blasting hot. Since you can only cook outdoors I guess you could hose it, but I'd be afraid that cold water on blasting hot wok might not be the best idea. I'll wash it once we finished eating, if I'd be cooking more than one dish I'd probably wipe it out with paper towel in between. I used to wipe my other wok with oil, but it got sticky since I don't use it every day and it's not recommended to do so. The oil gets rancid quick too, and supposedly the taste won't leave the wok for a while. Or ever. A good rinse with hot water and a brush or sponge, dry out with (paper)towel and then dry on low heat for a minute or two, that should be enough. Well, at least here in NorCal where humidity is a non-issue. I think I read somewhere to store it in a paper bag or wrapped in newspaper etc to prevent rusting, that seems to make sense to me too. My 18 inch wok will hang somewhere in the garage, I don't have room for it in the kitchen, and the burner is out there as well anyway. (it collapses into a really nice small package by the way!)

Oh, and I'll keep that burning blacktop in mind, I'd rather not have a flaming driveway, as attractive as that might look at night! :laugh:

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Thanks for the video- it was really informative to see how you initiated the oiling of the wok, your great consistent movement of the ingredients, and that pushing down technique. It was hard to see what you were specifically cooking- what were you pushing down for I assume better contact?

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Hi

thanks Heidi for your comments.

I was actually trying to break up the rice clumps when I was pushing down. This is a classical fried rice technique in the restaurants, where the texture of "every rice grain separate" is prized and a marker of good technique.... mine is not quite up to par as there were still some clumps!

one of the ways restaurant cooks oil the wok is actually dumping a whole ladleful of oil in the wok to "soak" the wok, heat it up a bit and then dump out most of the oil, leaving a nice thin coating on the entire surface. i tried a variation of that to minimize oil use.

I was cooking a classic fried rice with some crab meat I had handy.

thanks for your feedback, it's my second youtube video ever.

Edited to add: Just put instructions on the video. enjoy!

Edited by doctorandchef (log)
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finally got to use my portable kahuna and I'm in love! I wasn't even planning to use it, as it was a bit windy and cold, was gonna use the BGE, but the wind died down and I set it up (which is quick to do). Seasoned the wok once more with oil, Chinese chives and ginger and then cooked my food, which turned out delicious with "that" taste of a stir fry that you just can't get on the stove I guess.

I didn't even follow a recipe, since I had planned to bbq, but here's what I cooked:

boneless pork spare ribs, marinated in commercial "classic stir fry sauce" by House of Tsang, Chinese long beans. A side of lightly steamed broccoli with Asian style dressing, cashew nuts, a couple left over asparagus and home made bacon and garden harvested shitake (growing to my surprise from a tree stump).

Also had chopped ginger and 4 or 5 fat cloves of garlic. I was gonna cook the ginger first quickly and then remove, and the long beans were already half steamed since I was just gonna toss and heat them on the bbq. Of course I threw the now cut into cubes meat first, so I cooked it for a bit, dumped it out on top of the beans, cooked the ginger, took most of it out, added the garlic, cooked that for a couple seconds and put all the rest back in, stirfrying in a heavenly cloud of steam. Added some more of the sauce and that's it, cooking was done in less than 5 min. Tasted fantastic, I can't wait to do some real cooking from my books now! The wok works great, it's already nice and black on the bottom half. I might get a friend to weld a long handle on it, not sure yet. But I bought a pair of Ove' Gloves that work great for handling the hot wok and will be handy in many other ways. Not cheap, but a good investment.

The whole Kahuna unit stores very small, legs come off and collapse, and they have a dedicated spot on the bottom where they are held in place for storage. It puts out a lot of heat, way sufficient for woking I would say! And - on the portable - you can also put a pot or a pan on it, this will be my go to camping stove from now on.

I hope to set it up again this weekend, takes a minute or two to do and it's nice to be able to store it small and out of the way, it's not the prettiest thing I've ever seen ;-)

Only having used it once, I'm already pretty confident that I can highly recommend this unit. I got their 18 inch wok (carbon steel) but you could use a smaller one. And if you believe the box, you could use a 22 inch one too, but that would be a very big vessel, I can't imagine needing that size.

I can see it from where I'm sitting, and it makes me hungry just looking at it :-)

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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  • 5 months later...

HAs anyone tried the Alpha wok burner?

http://www.amazon.com/Alpha-Electric-Igniter-Portable-Propane/dp/B000W8JNLC

I've seen it in asian markets here. It seems like it would be pretty good. I don't know how many BTU it puts out, and returning the item to Amazon would be a pain if it's no good...

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HAs anyone tried the Alpha wok burner?

http://www.amazon.com/Alpha-Electric-Igniter-Portable-Propane/dp/B000W8JNLC

I've seen it in asian markets here. It seems like it would be pretty good. I don't know how many BTU it puts out, and returning the item to Amazon would be a pain if it's no good...

I've seen similar things for sale in H Mart. I suspect they're VERY powerful, but I don't know where I'd set one up.

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As a NYC apartment dweller who can only look at propane wok rigs with envy, I've always been on the lookout for other ways to achieve the same result.

Although still unusable indoors imo, the closest non-induction that can produce medium-high (62K BTUs), doesn't require propane, and might be retrofitted for wok use is the Woodflame Gusto. Their site had gotten stale for a while, but now they seem to be back up:

http://www.woodflame.com/bbq-portable-gusto

There seems to be no US distributor however.

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For apartment dwellers I think the hardest part is not so much the heat (though that's a challenge), but the ventilation. On my crappy weak gas range the stir-frying fumes get EVERYWHERE because of a lack of a serious vent fan. Those ones under the microwave DO NOT work, and until I own my own place, I'm not sure if there's anything I can do without getting smoke everywhere. Hell, I've even set smoke detectors off.

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  • 3 years later...
  • 2 years later...

I just got the Auscrown Rambo. It's kinda pricey, but the build is very nice. Peizo ignition, braided stainless steel hose, chunky connectors, solid construction everywhere. It looks like it was put together by a team of people who were afraid of being sued by the end user. That's a good thing in my book. The burner itself looks almost exactly like the one in the original post that infernooo had shipped to him from Thailand. The high pressure regulator is a lightly modified Chen Fong CF103 and the braided stainless high pressure gas hose was made by ALO. So I suspect that the Rambo isn't much more than a rebranded Thai wok burner with a Chinese-supplied hose and regulator. But as a package, it hits all the right buttons. I was also looking at the offerings from Outdoorstirfry.com which seem very nice as well. But none of their product names were "Rambo," so...

 

 

Here's the Auscrown product video.
 

 

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  • 9 months later...

Bringing this topic back. I want to do outdoor wok cooking, but I also want to do outdoor deep frying, clambakes, etc. Is there a consensus on whether there is a burner out there that does both well? Or do I really need to own two separate devices? That Auscrown Rambo does look good and not too big.

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I got Rambo as an all-in-one outdoor burner and it's served me well enough, though I can't say that I've used it for any non-stirfry tasks apart from getting my large stock pot up to temp in a hurry. But based on what I observed, it'll work just fine for big pot stuff like low-country boil and clam bakes. Deep frying should work as well, but I've only deep fried in a wok. Maybe one of these days I'll do the turkey thing myself... but for almost everything else, wok frying is a great way to fry. Because of the shape, you're able to fry larger items (like whole fish) in a relatively small volume of oil, and given the power of the heat source, the oil temp's recovery time after you add your product can be very short. The shape is also nice because you don't really have to worry about throwing in product and having the oil/steam bubble over on you. I also just like fying outside, because deep frying in my ventless kitchen makes my entire house smell like "fried." Anyway, I suspect you'll be just fine using a wok burner as an all-in-one. Its worked for me thus far.

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16 hours ago, btbyrd said:

bucket-style charcoal-fueled wok burner

 

I have one of these bucket grills.  I bought it from the local Asian supermarket.  My intent was to use it on the back patio as a yakitori grill.  The weather hasn't cooperated lately for the first tryout though.

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I'd be curious to hear how it performs for yakitori. I've wanted to try one of these just to see how hot they get and what the experience of wokking is like on them. They also look like they might work well to cook with clay cookware/donabes. Sure, butane burners are cheap, inexpensive, and super portable. But there's something about pulling a huge meal together using nothing but charcoal really appeals to me.

 

Let us know how yours works for chicken, or whatever else you end up using it for. I treated myself to a Japanese konro last year. Prior to that, I'd just been putting lump charcoal in a hotel pan and using a stainless steel cooking rack as a net. It sort of worked.The airflow in your bucket looks like it'd work a *lot* better than the janky setup I was using. Please report back.

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